My brain is drafting a conversation about ‘comfort zone.’ In Sunday School today we talked about calling and how sometimes it can be hard to follow a calling because we are not willing to go outside our comfort zone. At the time, the thought of being willing to find a new comfort zone came to mind. I think sometimes I get stuck in the thinking that my current circumstances are my only comfort zone. But once upon a time, whatever it is that makes up my current comfort zone was new. To even get where I am today, I had to leave a previous comfort zone. I was also thinking about how what if our comfort zone was not really about our external circumstances but about our relationship with God. What if God is our comfort zone? What if following Christ is our comfort zone? Being in God’s will is our comfort zone? I think about how at the end of every school year my daughter, Lindsay, wouldn’t want to leave her existing grade. She loved her teachers and her classmates and her schedule…it was her comfort zone. As a parent, I knew that soon the next grade would become her comfort zone just as it had the previous year. I think God is like the parent in that situation — knowing that whatever this next thing is, that it will become our new comfort zone. And that God will be in the midst of it all.
I don’t know if that paragraph eloquently explains exactly what I am thinking, but it hints at it. I think in a conversation it would make more sense because someone else would fill in the blanks for me. In community, we would be able to flush out the truths behind the words. God’s truths. In Sunday School today, Charlie brought up community and that many times we find our calling in community. I believe that is so true. That we ‘become’ in community. I think that is God’s design for us. I think that is why God gave us family and the church. So that we would live and grow in community and become God’s people together.
I am thinking, “Who is my community today?” Obviously, my immediate family, Rick, Lindsay and Rachel, and even my crazy dog Molly. And then my extended family is my community. My neighborhood is my community. My church is my community. My friends are my community. My seminary peeps are my community. My candidacy cohort is my community. Even the greater world is my community. Last week my friend, Shandon, invited to me try out a new small group practice. In this practice, you choose a discipline to lean into during the coming week like Worship, Scripture, Prayer, etc. The one that jumped out at me was Community. And then I join one of my communities for a Sunday morning discussion and we talk about community. Ok God, I am listening.
This week was hard for me regarding community as I am mourning the loss of one of my family members, one of my community members. That community is now rocked with grief at his absence and I am unable to be physically present with them. Actually, unable to be physically present with most of my community. It makes me treasure my immediate family all the more, my immediate community, the community I am grateful to be sequestered with. I have also been thinking about community in regards to school, my school and the girls’, as we wonder what community will look like in the fall. We have all decided to start school online for the first nine weeks, so school community will be a virtual community. I am so grateful for the technology that can keep us connected. I guess that is what most of the bible is, if not all of it. A ‘technology’ that keeps us connected. Much of scripture is letters that were written to separated communities. Paul wrote to churches when he could not be physically present. The scriptures were documented and passed on to future generations so that we may all be connected even though we are not physically together. I think about what I write and how that is used to connect me to a broader community and hopefully connect us all to God. Hopefully it is a conversation — that someone else will fill in the blanks of what I share so that we all might find the truths behind the words. God’s truths.
Mark 12:30 comes to mind:
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
That is community.
Thank you Lord for loving us in and through community. Help us to share your love as we lean into the communities you have so lovingly provided for us. Help us honor and love as you do.
In Jesus name I pray,